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notagoodidea

Indirect/Water?

9 posts in this topic

I understand that cooking low and slow indirect, people use a pizza stone. Having come from a Weber bullet, has any tried using water in a large metal bowl? I have used a pizza stone in the Weber, but have found the water method works better.

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Re: Indirect/Water?

You can certainly use the water method however I think you will find that with this high end ceramic grill there is no need to introduce more moisture. There will be plenty as the ceramics retain the moisture extremely well.

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Re: Indirect/Water?

A ceramic cooker retains moisture better than a Weber, and a KK is the tightest of the ceramic cookers. This effect is nevertheless a matter of degree, and worth considering.

A very full ceramic cooker performs differently from one with a small load. This is true across brands, less so with a KK but the effect is still there.

I've recently made some "village bread oven" experiments roasting with my KK, where I don't begin cooking till the fire is basically out, and the KK itself is thoroughly heat-soaked. Opening a fairly tight cooker to check on a roasting chicken, I had quite the surprise: The steam equivalent of flashback. I didn't actually burn myself, but I could have.

I'm gearing up for KK experiments with baking hearth breads. Home baking is a tricky subject because you basically have to take people's word for it that they're getting good results, all you can really take on faith is that they're happy with their results. Professional bread ovens inject steam to a degree impossible in a home oven. Spritzing like a banshee and pouring boiling water into a cast iron dutch oven can sure appease the "effort" gods (if they can pull themselves away from "Flashdance" reruns to notice), but is not a match for a professional bread oven. The Egyptians baked bread in covered pots, an idea quoted by "La Cloche" bread bakers, simplified by the no-knead crowd to using a Le Creuset dutch oven, and simplified by the Tartine Bread book to baking in a covered cast iron pot (Lodge LCC3 Logic Pre-Seasoned Combo Cooker). Here, the dough generates the right amount of steam for its baking chamber. So, does a loaf of bread generate enough steam for a very tight, thoroughly heat-soaked KK after the fire dies? I'm not sure, but I doubt it, and I'll be experimenting with adding steam.

For ordinary roasting in a KK, I'm not sure worrying about steam is worth the trouble. One can easily add too much. Nevertheless, this is an issue everyone has to work through for themselves, before developing a personal style. Or (yes, you there lurking) just buy one and demonstrate to the rest of us what minimal effort really looks like. The KK rewards that style of cooking. (Channel your inner Jamie.)

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Re: Indirect/Water?

If you are talking about cooking a big piece of meat low and slow in the KK, I believe only a minority of our forum members use a water pan. For indirect cooking we use the heat deflector supplied; it looks like a huge thick pizza stone. The KK retains moisture very well because of the very low airflow required. I do know at least one guy here has advocated for the water pan, though. You will quickly learn by experience if you need or want it! You probably won't.

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Re: Indirect/Water?

Thank you all for your replies. I will go without water on a brisket and see what happens. I might just take off a bit less fat.

Syzygies, in terms of bread, I have done a great deal of experimenting as I have a wood burning oven that I use for Pizza, etc. I have found that it is difficult to get a very thick crust (which is a good thing and bad thing) without injecting steam. That said using very wet dough and spritzing beforehand does give good results. It is very dependent on flour that you use and I have been using Guisto’s from California which works very well. I also do a slow and long ferment which changes your texture and taste. At the end of the day, however, there are many variables which is why the no knead method works so well- you take out many of the unknowns. I often just default to that although I use a sour starter and a two day sponge which really adds some character.

Last, although a competitor (no really), the Weber virtual bullet side is an excellent source of cooking tips. http://virtualweberbullet.com/

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Re: Indirect/Water?

At the end of the day' date=' however, there are many variables which is why the no knead method works so well- you take out many of the unknowns. I often just default to that although I use a sour starter and a two day sponge which really adds some character.[/quote']

Yep, I'm using a sourdough starter too, and overnight sponges, grinding my own flour for the whole wheat component (and sieving out the bran, so technically I'm left with "high extraction" flour). I'm having variable luck with both crust and with the degree that the loaf sprawls out; I'm right at the hydration limit.

As for crust, nothing I've tried so far beats the Lodge LCC3 Logic Pre-Seasoned Combo Cooker recommended by the Tartine Bread book (use upside down from picture, with large half as lid). As for sprawl, an overnight "retard" in the fridge helps the loaf hold its shape. (I've wondered if adding gelatin would enhance this effect, moving the hydration limit; this idea horrifies Laurie. Sensible woman.)

Interestingly, the Tartine Bread method is not far from the no-knead method. It's like learning a functional programming language: First you have to get those crap imperative languages out of your head, then you might be open to functional concepts. Here, Americans think kneading dough should look like a wrestling match, and no-knead makes a good stepping stone away from that, like astrology as generational progress on bigotry. Tartine Bread has one gently fold the dough over on itself, wet dough with wet fingers, at regular intervals during the bulk ferment. And that coaxes the gluten to form.

I should try a two day sponge. The freshly ground flour really likes the extended hydration...

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Re: Indirect/Water?

I should try a two day sponge.

Yep, you talked me into it.

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Re: Indirect/Water?

I should try a two day sponge.

Yep, you talked me into it.

So Syz, is that a new form of birth control or something? :D

Anyway, I saw this water pan thread and started thinking about the tin foil thread too. Neither of these items are something that are really needed on a KK, but what if the reason they were used had nothing to do with the purpose we originally thought? Now we are learning that the plateau is caused by evaporation and that foiling when entering that zone speeds the cook right on through. Just curious about revisiting the water pan method for the very same reason. Saturate the air in the KK so evaporative cooling of the meat during the plateau no longer plays a part or at least minimal.

I have to admit trying the tinfoil this past weekend. Was certainly skeptical of the idea to begin with and used my stoker to watch the graph. Somewhere around 4 hrs the butt hit 150ish and I put it in foil. The graph continued right on up at a slow gradual pace to 195 with no stopping. I did not pull it out of the foil at the end, and probably should, but other than no bark there was no other real downside noticed (and cooked 4 hrs faster). Man, I feel like an AA member taking the first step. Hi, I am J and I use tinfoil.

-=J

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